Thursday, July 27, 2017

'Endless Poetry' is aptly named

An inventive filmmaker immerses himself in a wild version of his own life.
An 88-year-old poet of cinema, Alejandro Jodorowsky is best known for 1970's El Topo and for 1973's The Holy Mountain. Jodorowsky also became the subject of Jodorowsky's Dune, a 2013 documentary about the filmmaker's difficult and ultimately failed attempt to turn a popular piece of science fiction into a movie. (David Lynch wound up directing a big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel.)

In 2013's The Dance of Reality, Jodorowsky began to tell the story of his life, focusing on his early days in Tocopilla, Chile, where he grew up under the thumb of a tyrannical father who had become obsessed with Joseph Stalin.

Jodorowsky's latest -- Endless Poetry -- continues the director's autobiographical journey with Jodorowsky revealing the ways in which he left his childhood behind and began to emerge as an artist.

For most of the movie, Jodorowsky is portrayed by his youngest son, Adan, who comes across as a poet, a clown (literally), a dancer and a comedian.

The filmmaker -- who also appears in the film -- builds a variety of episodes around the relationships young Jodorowsky forms with artistically oriented Chileans who provide him with a community that confirms and encourages his Bohemian dreams.

During this period, Jodorowsky has a defining encounter with Stella (Pamela Flores), a woman from whom he ultimately must seek liberation. When Stella and Jodorowsky walk down the street, she holds him by the genitals, an amusingly literal embodiment of their one-sided relationship. Flores, by the way, also portrays Jodorowsky's mother, who sings all of her dialogue.

Feel free to interpret this bit of dual casting any way you like.

The movie's main tension involves Jodorowsky and his father, portrayed by Brontis Jodorowsky, another of the director's sons. Father/son tension ripples throughout the movie even when Dad is off-screen and seems forgotten.

Narcissistic, full of wild theatrical flourishes and nudity, Endless Poetry serves as a kind of abstract memory trip that lives in its own eclectically assembled world.

Endless Poetry isn't for every taste, but those who give it a try will find a celebration of imagination from a director whose sense of invention seems unchecked either by censorial impulse or personal inhibition.

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